Libraries For The Future
[better_gallery template=default ][slide type=text page=1]Libraries for the Future - Mansfield Library(commission)
Over several weeks in 2014, I visited Mansfield Central Library to work on a series of portraits exploring the diverse everyday ways the library is used by people of all ages and backgrounds. Capturing the story of individual's relationships with the library building, the project aims to give insight into the relevance and importance of the library as a free, inclusive and sanctuary-like space in the community today. Like its counterparts in busy city centres and sleepy village streets, Mansfield Central, despite being attached to a large shopping precinct, offers an increasingly rare oasis away from the ever-present consumerism in our daily lives. These photographs say something of how people tailor the public space to their idiosyncratic needs and desires, find their individual place within it and make it their own. Libraries have long been associated with study and learning, but here we also encounter playfulness, friendship, connectivity and community.
The Public Libraries Act was passed in 1850, the first legislative step in the creation of an enduring national institution that provides universal free access to information and literature. Free WiFi, Storyhullabaloo and creative technology workshops may be strange and unfamiliar phenomenon to the early library user but they are in the spirit of that progressive act of parliament and are testament to how libraries have moved with the times to continue offering access to information. Libraries maintain a great value in today's society, if not in providing free WiFi, then in simply preserving a place to get away from it all.
Our Library, Our Space was commissioned as part of Libraries for the Future, a research project initiated by Nottinghamshire County Council Arts Services in partnership with Near Now, to explore how Nottinghamshire Libraries might creatively use technology to engage library service users in a growing cultural offer.